HERB - Soap

sunshinegirl sunshinegirl at steward-net.com
Tue Apr 3 21:45:56 PDT 2001

Greetings all.

Some time ago, there was some discussion on soap and tolietry scents in the
middle ages.   While re-reading the Decameron, written by Giovanni Boccaccio
(1313-1375), as translated by Richard Aldington, I came across this passage.
It is from the tenth tale of the eighth day.
The setting is a bagnio in the town of Palermo, in Sicily.
Without permitting anyone else to lay a hand on him, the lady herself washed
Salabaetto all over with soap scented with musk and cloves.  She then had
herself washed and rubbed down by the slaves.  This done, the slaves brought
two fine and very white sheets, so scented with roses that they seemed like
roses; the slaves wrapped Salabaetto in one and the lady in the other and
then carried them both on their shoulders to the bed.  When they had ceased
perspiring, the slaves took away these two sheets and left them naked
between the others.  They then took from the basket silver vases of great
beauty, some of which were filled with rose water, some with orange water,
some with jasmine water, and some with lemon water, which they sprinkled
upon them.

After a period of, shall we say "bedroom activity", the book says that their
hands and faces were washed with the scented waters.

Just thought some of you might be interested...

Melandra of the Woods

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